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The Center for Agroforestry

UMCA News Release

Missouri Chestnut Roast offers
fun for the entire family, Oct. 14

Sept. 12, 2006

Editor's Note: Photo available for download at

COLUMBIA, Mo. - As a fitting conclusion to National Chestnut Week, the University of Missouri will hold its 4th annual Missouri Chestnut Roast Oct. 14 at the MU Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, New Franklin, Mo.

"Despite this year's drought, we have a bumper crop of chestnuts at the center, so there will be plenty to roast during the event and to give away as samples throughout the day," said Julie Rhoads, event coordinator.

Activities begin at 10 a.m. and continue until 4 p.m. In addition to samples the event's namesake, vendors will feature a variety of locally grown and value-added products including Missouri wines, specialty beers and hard cider; ice cream; goat cheeses; honey; meat products; elderberry products; and pecan, walnut and chestnut products. Recipes and nutritional information will be available.

"Many vendors will have free samples and products for sale, so be sure to bring a few dollars with you so that you can take home your favorites," Rhoads said.

Craig Cyr, executive chef of The Wine Cellar and Bistro in Columbia, will prepare four new recipes that incorporate chestnuts and local foods during an afternoon cooking demonstration.

Tours of the 1819 Thomas Hickman house, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places this past July, will be held throughout the day.

Many new attractions have been added to this year's program, Rhoads said.

"Dennis Fulbright, a chestnut researcher from Michigan State University, will prepare an easy chestnut soup recipe during a morning cooking demonstration, and he'll be on hand to answer questions about cultivating and marketing chestnuts," she said. "Chestnut Charlie's, a certified organic chestnut producer from Lawrence, Ks., will sell fresh chestnuts throughout the day and also provide information. Local artist Ernest Hilderbrand also will give a specialty wood bowl-turning demonstration."

Children will have plenty to see at the Chestnut Roast. The MU Community Food Systems and Sustainable Agriculture program will display a model farm that shows the many ways in which sustainable agriculture can thrive and benefit Missouri communities. "Children also can take their turn grinding corn on an antique grinder," Rhoads added.

Kris Simpson, collections manager for the MU Enns Entomology Museum, will staff a Madagascar Hissing Cockroach demonstration and racetrack. Other children's activities include a midday story hour with story-teller Amy Prater, face painting and a straw bale maze.

The Ironweed bluegrass band will provide musical entertainment throughout the morning and into the afternoon, and the New Franklin High School Booster Club will operate a concessions stand offering grilled elk, buffalo, beef and pork products for sale.

Guided bus and walking tours of the research center will be offered for those interested in learning more about agroforestry practices.

"From a market standpoint, the Chinese chestnut holds enormous potential for Missouri landowners," said Michael Gold, associate director of the MU Center for Agroforestry. "It's a nutritious, versatile crop that grows well in Missouri and can be marketed year-round. The industry could reach $15 million in the next 20 years."

Admission to the event is free. For directions and a schedule of the day's events, go to, or contact Julie Rhoads at 573-882-3234 or

Sources: Julie Rhoads, 573-882-3234
Michael Gold, 573-884-1448

--Jason L. Jenkins
Senior Information Specialist
Extension & Ag Information
University of Missouri
(573) 882-2980

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